Project Runway All-Stars Season 2: Episode 7 – Unconventional Christmas

Prize courtesy of de Grisogono

Prize courtesy of de Grisogono

You know the season is going on too long when you look at the opening sequence and think: Peach is in this? And you know the season is ass#$%&-heavy when you also think: Awww, Suede, he wasn’t such a bad guy.

Blondie meets the designers at the South Street Seaport harbor. I remember the South Street Seaport from an episode of last summer’s Food Network Star, but I thought it was a high-end market. Seems it’s an actual harbor, leading Joshua to wonder if they’re doing a pirate-themed challenge. Staggers the mind, what some people actually say on television. By the way, while Pier 17 just re-opened, many shops are still closed for business due to damage from Sandy, according to their website, and many other less promotable efforts are still ongoing.

Our crew is joined by Fawaz Gruosi, founder of de Grisogono, yet another thing popular with the rich and famous of which I know nothing. The winner of the challenge will get a watch. I take it this is a bigger deal than when ANTM gave away Mikimoto pearls?

None of this has anything to do with the challenge, by the way.

Unconventional Challenge, Christmas version:

The idea is to buy $350 worth of Christmas stuff in 30 minutes, and make an outfit that doesn’t look like it came from a Christmas store. Which is a relief, because I wasn’t looking forward to a bunch of Santa’s Elves walking down the runway.

Uli: “Buy a thousand things to make sure your dress is covered with Christmas that doesn’t look like Christmas.”
Joshua: They’ll never know this was a train.
Laura: Find everything pretty and silver.
Emilio: A big fat man who climbs through your chimney in the night would get shot in my neighborhood – we call those burglars.
Casanova: What I can do? A live piñata.
Ivy: The models are elves inside our little sweatshop.

Some Kylie Minogue person is guest judge. She’s a singer, right? “This is probably the biggest judge in Project Runway history,” gushes Anthony Ryan, which makes people like Sarah Jessica Parker, Christina Aguilera, Debra Messing, and Victoria Beckham, not to mention DVF who hasn’t even left the building yet, feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

What Happens:

Who’s Been Naughty:

Ivy is thinking flapperesque, for movement and texture. She shows Joanna the garland she’s using for fringe; Joanna says it’s creative, and she wouldn’t know it was Christmas stuff. It’s not bad, though again, the bodice has some sewing issues, but who knows what that stuff is so she deserves a break on it. She managed to incorporate her obsession with sheer overlay in a way that’s attractive. I think it does look Christmassy, though; where else would you wear that but to a Christmas party? Still, I’m surprised she’s in the bottom. Georgina likes the idea; it’s the kind of girl you expect to see holding a martini and a cigarette. What? But she notes some proportion issues, like the keyhole, and the boxiness. I hadn’t noticed the keyhole until she pointed it out, but she’s right, it’s too big. Blondie doesn’t see a wow factor. Oh, really, with gold lace and gold branches you don’t see a wow factor? Isaac thinks the gold base fabric is the problem; it’s a 60s junior imitation of a cocktail dress because the waist is too high. Now they’re just picking on her. I’m no fan of Ivy, personally or artistically, and I’d love to see her go home, but she doesn’t deserve it for this. There’s an artistic touch that’s missing, sure, a touch Uli or Emilio would’ve brought, but for an unconventional challenge it’s pretty good.

Casanova is wearing something strange on his head. It isn’t quite a turban. Or maybe it is but it’s falling apart, with little things hanging down in back. It looks dirty. But it’s strangely appealing. I think Casanova has checked out of the competition. He doesn’t know what to do. It isn’t as easy as gutting Plush Puppies, which is what he did in Season 9; I can actually hear him saying “Plush Puppies.” Joanna doesn’t want to wear the dress he shows her. So he starts over. Then he starts over again. Overnight, his roomies warn him he isn’t using anything unconventional, so on Runway Day he starts over again, and because he’s gone through all the stuff he bought, he goes through the trash and asks the other designers for their leftovers. Yeah, Casanova has left the building. The result is not the catastrophe I was expecting. The sections are pretty incongruous, and the sides are gaping from the back, but I actually like the pleating on the skirt, and hey, you can’t see her privates. Georgina likes it more than the story he tells (“My first look was Santa Clause, my second was horrible, my third is leftovers”); it’s a little heavy-handed. Isaac likes the ropy espadrille stuff on the bust, but it’s then it gets old-lady. And again, I want to meet some of the old ladies these designers are hanging out with. Kylie doesn’t like how the center panel bulges over her belly. She’s right; it should be concave, not convex. Someone named Lala – I must’ve been sleeping when she was introduced – is impressed he created three looks, but as Isaac points out, he put himself in that situation by what he chose. Lala still thinks he showed his talent in the roping, and he has potential. I think by the time they hit All-Stars, designers should have more than potential.

Joshua buys trains. He thought he had a roll of fabric but it turned out to be a felt menorah wall hanging the size of a calendar, so all he’s got is ribbon. He starts with a sports bra bustier thing made out of… I don’t know, mirrors, plastic pieces, trains. Joanna: “My heart is beating for you.” I don’t think she meant it the way that looks in print. She points out others are doing more “considered” outfits. Joshua isn’t worried: “They can’t do Josh like I do Josh.” So you think “doing Josh” is a good thing? Here’s his problem: he doesn’t have a bottom. He’s thinking high-waisted shorts, but now he has to make them out of ribbon. But, as he says, it doesn’t look Christmas. No, it looks insane asylum. When his model walked the runway, I typed: “omg. Abomniaton.” Hey, I was typing in the dark, give me a break. She has trains on her shoulders. She has mirrors on her boobs. And god help us, Isaac could “see inside” the shorts as she walked by: “It doesn’t really work to show someone’s privates on the runway.” Words to live by. Georgina can’t tell from the back if it’s shorts or a skirt. Georgina, honey, look at this, does it matter? Everyone seems to love the top, which makes me want to bang my head against a wall. But even Kylie, who is apparently famous for wearing hotpants (!) wouldn’t wear those shorts.

Who’s Been Nice:

Laura channels the other Laura and shows Joanna a silver beaded dress; Joanna sees a modern 60s vibe. Laura’s feeling her oats, having won a challenge: “It must be innovative, it came from a Christmas store.” It’s not bad, though I wish it was a little more fitted, especially in back where the sides gap. Kylie especially loves the pockets, which, yeah, I can see that. I’m a big fan of pockets. But she also thinks some of the droplets are too big and look thrown on. This Kylie person, for all her hotpants ways, has an artistic eye; she’s right. The shift from small to large, plus the color, is too sudden. She also thinks it looks heavy to wear; Isaac agrees, it’s heavy in a way Ivy’s and Uli’s weren’t. Blondie loves the shape in back, which makes me want to slap her. Isaac’s major criticism is that it makes the model look fat; it isn’t expensive-looking. Georgina wants a different placement of the embellishments, which is pretty much what that Kylie person said.

Uli remembers what DVF told her: Embrace the Trims and Feathers. So she’s going to make a whole dress just from embellishments. Oh, Uli, where have you gone? She tells Joanna this is her challenge. I don’t quite understand why. I don’t remember what she did in the S3 unconventional challenge (was that the rip-up-your-apartment one?). But she feels pressure because everyone’s expecting her to waltz away with it. Maybe this is the episode she paid to win? She does a pretty good job of making an embellishment dress. The difference between her and Laura, or Ivy, is clear. It’s still gaudy as hell, but it’s organized gaud. Isaac loves her “signature,” how she fits things together like magic (I think that’s what I’m calling an “artistic eye”); it’s just that the hem in the back dips down, so it looks like the embroidery is weighing it down. Kylie loves that it’s not silver or gold but both (? I just gave you props, girl, don’t go idiot on me now). Georgina likes how she used materials to highlight and diminish certain areas, but she doesn’t like the seam on the sheer side panels (they don’t show in the pictures). But it’s pretty perfect, young, light, well-proportioned. And she gets her girl right every time.

Anthony Ryan goes for Winter, not Christmas. He’s making a stage dress for Kylie with mirrors and snowflakes. It’s the glue-crap-to-muslin challenge, so he glues crap to muslin with a vengeance. I hate the back, but I like the snowflake at the waist; it looks like a belt. But it’s clearly Christmas. Isaac loves the color; it looks really expensive, like something on a Paris runway. Oh, give me a break, he couldn’t have paid for this much, could he? Georgina likes the “pauses” where it goes flat, the sense of relief and cleanliness, which is such a cool way of phrasing it I don’t even care what she’s talking about. Someone-named-Lala is blown away, which makes me wonder about her blown-away threshold; parts read Christmas, parts read snowflakes. Who is this person? Kylie loves it as a performance itself, especially the hem.

The Invisible:

For some reason, Blondie tries to create drama out of which one of the seven designers will be in the single safe slot: “Ivy, Casanova, Emilio, one of you will be safe.” I don’t understand. Don’t do that again, ok? It’s stupid. The suspense of this episode is in seeing how they’ll find ways to praise three looks when they’re really all pretty bad.

Emilio is suffering hardware-challenge flashbacks; I think Tim still holds it against him though come on, Tim, Jesse wasn’t anything to write home about. Emilio should be comforted that there’s nowhere to go but up from that disaster. But his brain just doesn’t compute Christmas shit into clothes. He deliberately picks stuff that doesn’t look like Christmas at all. Purple. Lots of purple. Joanna wouldn’t know it was Christmas stuff, but she’s the Joanna version of Tim’s concerned: “You can’t just dress someone in ribbon and hope the ribbon does all the work.” Joanna, when was the last time you made a dress out of Christmas stuff? Emilio has his first glue gun experience. When he breaks it, he has his second glue gun experience. And another. His table is littered with dead glue guns, the carrion of his destruction. It’s a very purple dress; I like the checkerboard design with glitter and not, it fits really well, and I like how the white of the skirt looks like a lining. That’s kind of an Emilio thing, the skirt designed so the lining shows. The problem is, it looks like strips of wrapping paper. I love Emilio, but I would’ve put him in the bottom instead of Ivy; it’s a much more artistically created dress, but the overall effect is far worse.

Who Gets A Watch, Who Gets a Lump of Coal for Christmas:

Uli wins. I’ll agree with that. watch2She’s the only one whose model looked good. She gets an incredibly ugly black watch, with Fawaz Gruosi coming into the backstage lounge to put it on her wrist himself. Couldn’t they even have him come out on the runway? I don’t care how expensive it is, it’s huge, it’s clunky, it looks like plastic. I’m betting she sells it on eBay.

Casanova is out, because they could feel the torture in his design; it was ill-conceived from the beginning. And I think he told them he wanted out, because I can’t imagine anyone on the planet thinking his design was more ill-conceived than Joshua’s. Ivy cries. No comment.

Next Week:

Fashion Faceoff. Head-to-head match-ups. That means somebody’s gonna get screwed.


4 responses to “Project Runway All-Stars Season 2: Episode 7 – Unconventional Christmas

  1. Weren’t we thinking the winner would get the beautiful watch they kept showing? I had that winning watch when I was in high school and mine had a calculator.

    When they got to the end, I felt sure that Ivy was going (boring is worse on this show), but you proved correct, Ivy paid to stay on until at least Casanova went home.

    I rather liked Joshua’s top–not really as clothes, mind you, but they were sure neat to look at. And I thought Emilio’s looked good. I don’t expect people to be able to really wear the unconventional clothes, so I just like pretty things 🙂

    I also cant believe that Laura Kathleen (who paid to win with DVF and maybe had a clause that she not go home the next week) was actually above Emilio, as her model looked fat which should be the biggest sin of all.

    I hate that they have kept the two least pleasant people (with awful voices) on for so long–and the show is STILL boring.

    Kylie Minogue is (no kidding) a HUGE pop star in Europe and Australia (where she’s from). She had a hit here about 25 years ago with a cover of The Locomotion, although I personally didn’t register it, but it was very big. And about 7 years ago (oh, my ggoodness, it was actually from 2001) she had a pop hit called I can’t get you out of my head which I really did like (and I don’t like pop), but it was super catchy with a lot of la las, and there was something sinister about it which I thought was cool.

    Should you care:

    • Re Kylie Minogue, she has such a distinctive and interesting name, I knew I’d seen it before. I figured it was from The Sing-Off – but you inspired me to go looking, and no, it was from, of all places, Chapter 19 of Just My Font, the video German Bold Italic. I still don’t understand the video at all, but, hey, I have to hand it to her for doing a music video about a font.

      I can’t find that watch on the guy’s website, so it might be something that was discontinued. I give Laura great credit for appearing so excited. I wonder how many takes they had to do. Yeah, now I’m just being mean.

      You’re not the only one who likes Josh’s top – most people do. I’m an old stick-in-the-mud.

      • Thanks for that crazy link…that will be appearing on my blog soon. I like Kylie but not for her music, there’s something about her that I find appealing (unlike most models). Maybe it’s because she’s tiny (she’s only 5′ 2″) or because she beat breast cancer. Or because she’s Australian. Or because she’s really weird (see the video you posted).

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